The bridge, which connects Russky Island to the Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, was completely iced up during last week’s freak freezing rain, which left some Vladivostok residents without electricity and heat for days. A vital part of the infrastructure in Russia’s Far East, the bridge was closed to all traffic on November 21, two days after the storm. Its stays became glazed with ice, and icicles started falling on the lanes from 300m above.
Video, taken from a drone, shows how a daring industrial climber hangs on to the bridge’s cables, knocking down the ice.
The Minister for Development of the Far East and the Arctic, Alexey Chekunkov, explained that this incident is the first in world history when a bridge of its type has been iced up following a storm.
“We were looking for options from other places in the world, and we did not find a precedent,” Chekunkov said. “Such a high cable-stayed bridge has never been iced up before — it is the height of the Eiffel Tower.”
Chekunkov explained the bridge is cleaned manually, with workers hanging from cables in the wind, in sub-zero temperatures.
Opened in 2012, Russky Bridge crosses the Eastern Bosphorus, a strait located in the far eastern Primorsky Region. As well as playing a role in Vladivostok’s travel infrastructure, the bridge has also become a tourist attraction, and part of the city’s identity.
Last week, it was reported that thousands of Vladivostok residents had gone days without heat and power, after devastating freezing rain destroyed much of the city’s infrastructure. Many residents were moved to temporary accommodation, and the military set up food banks to hand out aid to affected citizens. Some locals also complained about ATMs not working, and gas stations running out of fuel.
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